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Full text of "17th century painting from the Low Countries"

I7TH CENTURY 
PAINTINGS from 

the Low Countries 



i 



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■..- 













iyTH century paintings from the Low Countries 



Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2011 with funding from 

Boston Library Consortium Member Libraries 



http://www.archive.org/details/17thcenturypaint00pose 




By CREIGHTON GILBERT 




An exhibition of the 
POSES INSTITUTE 
OF FINE ARTS at the 
ROSE ART MUSEUM 

Brandeis University 
Waltham, Massachusetts 
February 27 -March 27 
1966. 



3?50«|S» 







SI \l I OF I HI ROSE AK I Ml si X M 

William C. Seitz, Director 
Thomas H. Garver, Assistant Director 

Leo Bronstein, Curator, Oriental Art 

Joachim Gaehde, Curator, Medieval Art 

Creighton Gilbert, Curator, Renaissance Art 



COPYRIGHT © 1966 BY I'OSES INSTITUTE OF FINE ARTS 
BRANDEIS UNIVERSITY, WALTHAM, MASSACHUSETTS 

TYPE SET BY PHILMAC TYPOGRAPHERS INC. NEW YORK 

PRINTED BY THE MERIDEN GRAVURE CO., MERIDEN, CONN. 

DESIGNED BY CARL F. ZAHN 



Introduction 




OR a dozen years or a little longer, it has been a continuing 
pleasure for me to watch the growth of the collection of paint- 
ings here exhibited for the first time, with modest anonymity. 
It has grown greatly in size, and also in quality and selectivity. 
At the same time it has acquired a special slant which perhaps 
has not been fully expressed even by its creator. 
Only a fraction of its content is presented to the public here, and the choices 
were not made by the owner, but by me. Hence the original viewpoint in the 
collecting has been overlaid by another; that being so, some suggestions about 
Dutch painting as it is shown to us by these examples may be added also. 

This is not the place for a general sketch of painting in the Netherlands in 
the seventeenth century, nor is either space or competence available. An even 
more summary formulation of the conventional ideas about this art, cited only 
to be questioned, would be as follows: the most frequent approach of the artists 
involves two factors, first, a strong adherence to realism in the representation of 
materially visible things, people, the environment of town and landscape, still 
life from the table or kitchen, and a rejection of the imaginary, the literary, the 
historical, the religious, all that is not available to the eye here and now. Second, 
the approach involves specialization: an artist will tend to restrict himself not 
just to still life, but to dishes rather than vegetables, not just to landscape but to 
the coast rather than the forest; and he will repeat his specialty with slight varia- 
tions through his career. He may have two or occasionally more specialties, but 
they remain two threads and do not build him into a wide-ranging artist. Within 
this pattern, the conventional formulation adds, there looms Rembrandt, the 
exception to both rules, an artist of the imaginary and the religious (although by 
trade a portrait painter) and one whose varied exploration of all themes is so 
wide as to free him from the pigeonhole of thematic dependence. 

In terms of reasonable human behavior in history, how can we understand 
this exception? Its awkwardness is usually handled by paying tribute to Rem- 
brandt's genius, but the exhibition suggests another answer. First, however, 
we should give notice to the ways in which of course it confirms the formulation. 
A number of the paintings exemplify the artists working on their well-known 
specialties, and incidentally show the high perfection of imagery thus devel- 
oped. Such pictures are the famous and classic Kalf, the Van der Neer, and most 
extremely the Wynants, whose status within its artist's range is reported in the 
note on it. These allow us to ponder the implication of such repetition. Some- 
times modern observers either find this astonishing, or analyze it dismissingly as 
commercial, exposing the artist as a manufacturer of a known successful 



product. Yet sonic of these images were maintained in the teeth of public in- 
difference, and they should not really seem surprising when our artists, from 
Marin and Feininger to Hopper and Davis to Pollock and Kline to Noland and 
Johns, hardly do anything else but repeat, producing endless examples of what 
the familiarized viewer always calls "a Johns." We might also make an analogy 
with the jazz performer, who repeats a small repertory and who obtains re- 
sponse from instant recognizability of his stylistic tone. All this involves rapport 
with the viewer and a greater or less commercial awareness, but primarily it 
means that, as I lenry James would have said, the artist has found his "note." 

Along with these paintings, the exhibition includes a spectacular range of 
non-typical works. A religious image by Gabriel Metsu, an Italian peasant 
scene by Gerrit Bcrckheyde, a scene of soldier life by the youthful De Hooch, 
and what seems to be a unique Greek mythology by Ostade, will fascinate the 
expert visitor as counterpoints to the artists' known habits. Indeed it emerges 
that most Dutch artists experimented with exceptions to their rules. Here, ex- 
ceptions like the Ostade and the Metsu are homages to Rembrandt's impact, 
but more broadly it is suggestive that the exceptions by many artists, when not 
specifically in Rembrandt's style, are worked from imagination as much as 
from observation. That is, they make a link between Rembrandt and the other 
artists, rather than allowing him to be seen as a jolting exception. 

The exhibition also illustrates other more or less familiar "exceptions." The 
Utrecht school was a stimulus to Rembrandt, with its monumental and rather 
literary figure paintings, but has always been set apart as a special case that 
doesn't count. It is presented here in a work exceptional in it, the magnificent 
Knupfer, and in the Bloemaert. The latter also exemplifies another agreed-on 
exception, the Italianate landscape. In it, landscape view ceases to be a realistic 
report, and develops fanciful decorative shapes which embody emotional evo- 
cations. This art too has been recognized, and was practised by a surprisingly 
large number of artists. But it has again been set aside, and labeled trivial be- 
cause it is artificial, which makes a circular analysis. Recently it has been more 
noticed, and we might add that imaginative landscape uses not only Italy, but 
the Norwegian fir forests of Ruysdael. Thus it is a bridge between Van 
Schooten's plate of meat and Metsu's Abraham. Generally, then, the exhibition 
has a valuable bias towards this art in which the Netherlander spread out from 
observation toward imagination in many ways, including Rembrandt's. These 
works are statistically rare, but that has wrongly led to their being excluded 
from descriptions of the pattern. They should add to our comprehension and 
admiration. 

C.G. 



Catalogue 



The paintings have been selected from a private collection in New York. In addi- 
tion to the paintings catalogued, the exhibition comprises a group of etchings by 
Rembrandt and two artists connected with him, Lastman and Bol, in fine impressions 
from the same collection. 

In the notes on the paintings, height precedes width of measurement. All the paint- 
ings are in oil unless otherwise specified. 

Photographic credits: Eric Pollitzer, John Schiff, Brenwasser, New York. 



I. Jan Briiegel theelder (1568-1625) 

The Procession into the Ark 

Oak panel, 30M x 5 1 V* in. (77 x 1 3 1 cm.) 

Jan Brucgcl was one year old at the death of his father, the great Picter Bruegel. 
They belong to one of the greatest and largest dynasties of painters, and Jan is called 
"velvet Bruegel" to distinguish him from various relatives and in compliment to 
his technical skills. The Ark makes a good introduction to this exhibition partly 
because it evokes many of the typical artistic interests of its generation in Antwerp, 
then the chief city of the Low Countries. Of course as the theme is expounded to us, 
it is revealed as an excuse to proffer an encyclopedia of animals, almost a visual 
list of a whole category of material reality. This indefatigable feeling for micro- 
scopic truth is a very old Flemish tradition, which Pieter Bruegel had modified in his 
own way. Jan modifies it again, using it as the carrier for luxurious ornamental 
patterns, marked by happy virtuosity in their sharp jumps for the eye, shiny and rich 
textures and graceful curving lines. The unlikely blend of realism and decoration, 
both remaining intense, is possible because Jan was in addition involved with the 
late phase of mannerism, a style whose love of a paradoxical or artificial distortion of 
reality was now being pushed so far that it came full circle, producing a tight, fixed, 
glare of reality as the final twist. This type of mannerism and the old Flemish realism 
are basic to the period; Jan's elegant ornamentation is his own, and the blend is his 
link to his age. Famous and successful, he and his associates often repeated their 
forms; the pair of lions, the tiger and the parrots seen here recur exactly 7 in other 
paintings. As usual, the big workshop like a law firm today divided up the tasks, and 
the human figures and the landscape here are by two associates of the master, of 
debatable identity. 




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2. FlorisVan Schooten (ca.x590-ca.1655) 

Still Life with a Platter of Meat 

Oak panel, i SV& x 33^2 in. (46 x 85 cm.) 

Signed with monogram and dated, FvS fecit 1 62 J 

The town of Haarlem, then the third or fourth largest in the nation and having 
its own character although only eleven miles from Amsterdam, has one of the best 
claims to be the place where seventeenth century Dutch art first emerged, with a 
distinct character, from the Flemish or general Netherlandish tradition. Around 
1 6 1 o it certainly produced in Frans Hals the first immortal artist belonging to that 
context; in addition to Hals as a portrait specialist the Haarlem landscapist Esaias 
van de Velde seems more than anyone else to be the influential father of the great 
spread of that specialized art. The little known Floris van Schooten may have 
somewhat the same relation to still life, at least in respect to his surprisingly early 
career, and he has an interesting parallelism to Van de Velde. Considered as de- 
signers, both tend to assemble their realistic properties with a rather loose hori- 
zontal line-up that gives respectful emphasis to the independent reality of each 
natural thing, but yet provides an austere and plain unity. The latter is in contrast 
to the exuberant sprawling sensuousness of earlier Flemish accumulative painting 
(as in Jan Bruegel's animals) and is a pioneering move toward the studied com- 
plexity of a Ruysdael landscape or a Kalf still life. Van Schooten works with a 
series of detached platters, each the frame for a different kind of object. Sometimes 
the rhythm is a simple equal beat; here the central chunk of meat pulls the forms 
tighter, and its surprising juicy character also has a Haarlem-like relish, as in Hals' 
drinkers and Brouwer's peasants. Van Schooten was so little known around 1900 
that his span of activity was only from 1627 to 1639, nor was it even understood 
that he was a still life painter. Awareness of his importance can be expected to 
increase. 



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3. Moses Van Uyttenbroeck (ca. 1595-1646) 

Arcadian Shepherds 

Oak panel, loHxjH'm. (27.6 x20 cm.) 

Uyttenbroeck reminds us that there is a constant minority strain in Netherlandish 
painting which is dissatisfied with imagery of the nearby world of facts. Its bent 
toward imagination and dreams is supported by an appeal to Italy, to the classical 
world, and to literature. At this period it is reinforced by the originality and talent 
of painters like Elsheimer, of whom Uyttenbroeck has sometimes been considered a 
pupil. Yet it is striking that, as Stechow has commented, Uyttenbroeck is one of the 
very few artists who was able to absorb the poetic and superior feeling of the classic 
into the plain and even naive local attitudes. Here that ability is beautifully presented 
in the painting of the back. It is realistic and irregular to the point of ugliness. Yet 
it does not contradict the mood of the painting, which is dreamy and meditative, 
qualities developed by the sense of imprecise location, unspecified subject, stillness 
and solidity. The effect evoked, combining academic classic nudes with detachment 
from space and with a sense of physical awkwardness or inadequacy, is a permanent 
one, as the blue period of Picasso suggests. In its own time it is closer to Rembrandt, 
who sometimes uses similar patterns to produce his confrontations between human 
dignity and weakness. In the fertile collision between high-class artistic allusion and 
ordinary recording, Uyttenbroeck has a place which this work demonstrates as few- 
others by him do. It is unusually small among the sixty-odd known paintings. It 
may be significant that he worked in The Hague, not a major art center but the 
nearest thing in Holland to a royal court. 

Former collection: Rothmann, London. 

Publication: U. Weisner, "Katalog der Gemaelde Van Uyttenbroecks," Oud Holland, 

1964, no. 4, Cat. No. 40. 



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4- Bartholomeus Breenbergh (1599-01.1657) 

Martyrdom of St. Stephen 

Oak panel, 26^x37^ in. (67 x95 cm.) 

Signed and dated 1 632 

Artists of the seventeenth century went to Rome from every country, as to Paris in 
the early twentieth, and some remained for years or all their lives. The Netherlanders 
among them, though drawn to a center of art and of classical heritage, naturally 
sketched and painted the realistic details of their environment, as they were trained 
to do at home, producing the equivalent of the modern tourist's snapshot album and 
most of our records of how Rome looked. There is thus a whole category of the 
Dutch Roman landscape, fascinatingly accurate and sharp, but always a little affected 
by a feeling for the exotic richness of the ancient civilization, so that it is softened 
and given sentiment or made rhythmic with bold composition. Breenbergh stayed in 
Rome for seven years, returning about 1630, the year of his earliest known work. 
Thus this panel belongs to his first full development, and suggests his response 
of excitement in its high-keyed lighting and its boldly wrought rocking balances of 
weighted forms. The excitement and the sense of historic remoteness are further 
enhanced by the violent figures. In this period, small figures in a big landscape are 
called staff age; it was a time when pure landscape was becoming interesting, but 
wasn't fully admitted as justifiable, so the figures are the excuse for the subject. They 
represent the first Christian martyrdom, a suitably Roman subject. According to 
the text, St. Paul, not yet a disciple, was an idle witness; here he appears large and 
mocking, and, for added piquancy, may be a self-portrait of Breenbergh. 

Former collections: probably the painting auctioned Amsterdam, November 30, 1772, no. 87, 
and in the J. D. Nyman sale, Amsterdam, August 16, 1797, no. 27, and the one in the Cardinal Fesch 
collection, Rome, (Catalogue, 1841, no. 289) dispersed in the sale of March 25, 1844, no. 29. 
(Data courtesy of H. Gerson.) General J. C. Delafield, U. S. Army. 



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5*. Jacobus Sibrandi Mancadan (1602-1680) 

Travellers among Mountains 

Oak panel, r 5 5 x x 1 5 in. (38.5 x38 cm.) 

Since Holland is a very small country, it is hard to realiz.e the importance of the fact 
that its large cities and its artists were concentrated overwhelmingly (as its cities 
still arc ) in the southwestern quarter: Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Haarlem, Leiden, 
Delft, are all within commuting distance. This makes it possible for the northeastern 
areas of Groningen and Frisia, near the German border, to seem strange and remote, 
a quality reinforced by their sandy, marshy landscape, and at this period by their 
political separatencss and different dialect. This is one of the reasons why Mancadan, 
one of the few artists of the region, has remained very obscure, being the only 
artist of this exhibition not listed in the great Wurzbach dictionary of Dutch paint- 
ers. The other reason is that he rarely signed his works (seventeenth century 
Holland seems to have established the practice of most artists to sign most of their 
works). Only two signatures are known, one of an untypical display piece, the other 
(Stuve collection, Osnabruck ) a work particularly close to this one. Mancadan's 
landscape, however, is not local, but imaginary. By coincidence, the remarkable 
feeling of lonely wastes also evokes for us the detached strangeness of his province, 
but he, perhaps with that as a starting point, invented mountains with an extraordi- 
nary, subtle, pallor of air, a tone as of light brown sugar dissolved in light. The tightly 
clustered family, whose journey seems so desolate and so inexplicable, only enhances 
the feeling. Thus the art of Mancadan is tantalizingly romantic, at the opposite 
extreme from conventional descriptions of the Dutch. 

Former collection: Douglas, Dublin (sale Sotheby, London, 1957). 



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6. Nicolaus Knupfer (ca. 1603-1660) 

Solon before Croesus 

Oak panel, 23M x 34^ in. (59 x 87.5 cm.) 

Signed lower left 

Born in Leipzig, Knupfer came to Holland in his twenties as a refugee from the 
Thirty Years War. He settled in Utrecht, the most Catholic town in Holland, which 
seems also to have encouraged the emergence of un-Dutch artists, interested less in 
the here and now than in the literary, classical, and religious, and in painting compo- 
sitions of large dramatic figures in the Italian or Flemish way. Knupfer seems to have 
painted at least five compositions of this story, in which the Athenian lawgiver 
Solon, a prisoner of the very wealthy king Croesus, told him: "Call no man happy 
until he is dead." (This moral proverb was still culturally alive in the nineteenth 
century world of the classically educated American newspaper reader, who used the 
phrase "rich as Croesus" and used "Solons" as a headline synonym for "Senators.") 
Knupfer's repetitions of the theme, in works of differing scale, are only an element 
of his broad interest in scenes in which a lower-status petitioner or defendent ap- 
pears before a judge or king. These include David playing to Saul, the Judgment of 
Solomon, Zorobabel before Darius, the Feast of Herod, Christ before Pilate, Paul 
before Festus, and the Clemency of Scipio. All allow a dramatic balance of psycho- 
logical energies to work through a Baroque imbalance of up and down. The varnish- 
brown overall tone which Knupfer uses with such shining virtuosity, and the 
spotlighting, are generally Rembrandtesque, and the emergence from them of 
twisted stringbean people is very like the little known Leonard Bramer. But the odd 
and bold emphasis, along with the varnish, on strawberry pink, underlines Knupfer's 
most incongruous element of success, his wittiness, which he certainly imparted to 
his great pupil Jan Steen. Yet these links in no way diminish his extremely personal 
note. 

Publications: E. Plietsch, Hollaendische und Vlaemische Maler des XVII Jahrhunderts, 
Leipzig, i960, pp. 33-34, Plate 32; J. I. Kouznetzow, "Nikolaus Knupfer, biographie, themes et 
sources de la creation artistique, catalogue des oeuvres," (in Russian, with French summary) in 
Trudy Gosudarstvemiogo Ermitazha, Zapadnoevropeiskoe hkusstvo, VIII, 
Moscow, 1965, p. 221, cat. no. 113. 



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7. AertVanderNeer (1603-1677) 

River Landscape by Moonlight 
Oak panel, 1 2 x 1 8^2 in. (30.5 x 47 cm.) 
Signed with monogram, lower left 

\ an dcr Nccr is a typical citizen of his native Amsterdam, which encouraged in its 
artists the development of personal trademarks and self-confident presentations, 
with more variety and urbane suavity than any other Dutch city. Vet he appears to 
have begun as an amateur, painting his first known works when over thirty; this 
accounts for the technical roughness of his surfaces, which, pushed to expressive 
extremes, arc often in poor preservation. His unmistakable trademark is the night 
landscape, of which some hundreds can be found, almost black and white as the 
moonlight articulates it. They are often most attractive in small scale, because the 
theme also calls for an almost smudged vagueness of optical tone, unlike usual works 
of art in black and white which for the most part are based on line drawing. The 
importance of this soft tone to Van der Neer is confirmed by his second most 
common choice, the snow landscape, equally a colorless continuum. The night 
scenes typically center on a river, still further avoiding sharpness. This softly shad- 
owed river scene is certainly a major ancestor of the nineteenth century sentimental 
landscapes of Corot, and its romantic suggestiveness once again contradicts the 
alleged mattcr-of-factness of Dutch painting. Yet in \ an der Neer, unlike Corot, it 
is important that the shadowy black rests upon a tightly emphasized armature of a 
horizontal linear base (the river bank) interwoven with small insistent verticals 
(masts, chimneys, tree-trunks, men). These detail elements are absent only when 
the night or snow is also absent. The use of an important geometric base for the 
composition is typical of the mid-century developed phase of Dutch specialty 
painting, whether landscape, still life or other, in contrast with the more open, ob- 
ject-oriented realism of an older generation of artists less centered on Amsterdam. 

Former collection: Paul Schwabach, Berlin. 



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8. Adriaen Bloemaert (after 1 609-1666) 

Landscape with a Ford 

Canvas, 21 H x 16H in. (55x43 cm.) 

Signed lower left 

The Bloemaert family of Utrecht produced many artists, as often happened in the 
seventeenth century Netherlands. One of them, Abraham, is much the best known, 
so that his son Adriaen's personality has been obscured more than a neutral situation 
would have done it; this has also happened to Jan Bruegel and others. Adriaen shares 
with his family only the Utrecht taste for the Italianate and the general classical and 
literary implications of that culture. He went to Italy, and afterwards stayed some 
time in Salzburg. These southern years, when he was actively working, may account 
for a style in which the imagery of landscape is not only non-Dutch, but not 
naturalistic at all, having instead the decorative quality usually associated with very 
large ornamental murals in Baroque villas. It is this pattern, connected with such 
residents of Rome as the Frenchman Dughet rather than with any Dutchman (it is 
perhaps nearest to Jan Both), that produces the tendency to a rather thin-stretched 
sweep of luminous, undetailed areas. The upright format with the huge translucent 
clouds, the impossibly scaled trees in silhouette, the castle on a hill in the middle 
distance, the nicely dressed travellers fording the quiet broad stream, are all elements 
which recur in Adriaen in slightly rearranged combinations, as frequently as his 
emphatic signature. Yet its compression here to a small scale suddenly endows it 
with seriousness, as if it were here that the artist stopped to look at it closely. 



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9. AdrienVanOstade (1610-1684) 

Mercury and Argus 

Oak panel, n&xi2in. (30x30.5 cm.) 

Signed with initials 

This astonishing little picture is the only one by the artist of a subject from mythol- 
ogy, among hundreds of works, and simultaneously is probably unique technically 
in its thick, sketchy roughness. Yet it has been readily accepted as his work, probably 
for two reasons. The first is that, among themes from myth, this is really not 
different from the most ordinary subject of the artist, typical of Haarlem, the cheer- 
ful and somewhat rowdy life of peasants. Mercury is a young workingman having 
fun, Argus an old codger having a nap. The myth is a whimsical variant on the 
theme, a heightening of the usual. \ clazquez' Bacchus and the Peasants, perhaps 
about ten years earlier, is a classic example of the same mood. The single work in an 
unusual category is not itself unusual; of over a hundred known works by Adrien's 
brother Isaac Van Ostade, there is just one portrait. Combining both comments, one 
of Adrien's rare religious paintings, the Adoration of the Shepherds, is really another 
rearrangement of the same elements: shepherds, dog, cow. The second cause of the 
easy absorption of the painting into the artist's known activity is its close link to a 
group of his very tiny etchings, just as this is an exceptionally small painting. 
Several show two confronted figures, including a seated man listening to a piper 
(Bartsch etching catalogue no. 38), a five-inch print of about 1642, a still smaller 
smoker and drinker (B. 13), or two gossips (B. 40). Tiniest of all, a profile head is 
as rough in style as this painting and as another odd one with no human actors, the 
Pigpen in the Louvre. These paintings, quick and eccentric, may well have been 
private sketches, not to be shown. Not like Ostade's first blue and pink works, they 
belong with a second group of early works much influenced by Rembrandt's light- 
ing and texture. 

Publications: Catalogue of Paintings by Old Masters, Alfred Brod, London, 1956, no. 24; 
Burlington Magazine, 1956, p. 420. 




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io. Jan Mienze Molenaer (a. 1610-1668) 

Tavern with a Woman Fiddler 
Oak panel, 17^x24^ in. (45 x62 cm.) 
Signed, on the table leg 

A Haarlemer for most of his life, Molenaer belongs to the tradition of celebrating 
cheerful or forceful lower class social groups, firmly installed there by Haarlem's two 
greatest artists, Frans Hals and Adriaen Brouwer, whose original ancestor was Pieter 
Bruegel in Flanders. Molenaer's wife was Judith Leyster, the most notable woman 
painter of seventeenth century Holland and a faithful pupil of Hals. But for some 
years in middle life they lived in Amsterdam (where another contact was their 
lodger Jan Lievens, Rembrandt's earliest close associate) and that stay may sym- 
bolize, at least, the change in Molenaer's later work. The peasants are cleaned up, 
and so is the painting, more polished and more suavely colorful. In some two 
hundred later paintings, with no further noticeable change, he rearranges the few 
elements of the scene which we see here. Even the curved ceiling and the barrel are 
frequently shown, as well as the woman musician (though she may play various 
instruments) . This is in contrast to the harder, plainer works of his youth, with 
fewer large figures and crude violence of theme, such as tooth pulling. The later style 
shares the taste of many Amsterdam painters at mid-century for a thoroughly woven 
design of equalized energy overall; it appears regardless of theme, as we see it in 
the landscapes of Van der Neer and the still life of Kalf, and tends to accompany 
elegance of texture each time. In peasant scenes it also transforms the art of the 
purely Haarlem painter Ostade. 



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II. Jacob De Wet theelder(ca. 1610-ca. 1671) 

Salome Receiving the Head of John the Baptist 
Oak panel, 1 4^ x 20 7 A in. (36x53 cm.) 
Signed at bottom center 

Though he lived in Haarlem, De Wet's career was determined by the years which 
he seems to have spent as a Rembrandt pupil in Amsterdam, about 1630-32. He 
absorbed Rembrandt at his most operatically exciting, with the violence of events 
underscored by focused spotlights and yawning shadows. Like many of the pupils 
who were faithful to the master's dramatic and luminary ideas, he could not follow 
him in surface technique, and completely opposes the later Rembrandt's personal 
shorthand and its intimate broken informality with his polished glitter and sheen. 
It is consistent with this that Salome is a fine lady in a feathered hat, which tradition 
does not demand. This is rather like Gerard Dou, the Rembrandt pupil admired 
perhaps more than any other in his own time. But De Wet is closer to Rembrandt 
than Dou is in the tautness of his theatrical concentration, comparable in this respect 
and in the thin tall figure types to Knupfer and perhaps to a trace of late mannerist 
tradition of elongated people. Indeed De Wet might be called a "mannerist Dou", 
if that is conceivable. He likes a special sort of drama, involving a sudden, startling or 
unusual confrontation between two people or groups, as in Christ with the Adulter- 
ess, Christ blessing the Children, Elijah with Ahab, and his favorite theme the 
Resurrection of Lazarus. The specific content of the subject seems to have interested 
him less than the dramatic tone and luminary design, for one of his few publicly 
visible works, "Meleager Presenting the slain Calvdonian Boar to Atalanta" (Glas- 
gow Museum) is almost interchangeable with this Salome, the same lady in the hat 
in the same spotlight with the same kneeling man. Thus De Wet has a well organized 
special way of working, which can become better known. 



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i2. Bartholomeus Van der Heist (1613-1670) 

Portrait of a Boy with a Silver Chalice 
Canvas, 25 x 20 in. (63.5 x 5 1 cm.) 
Signed and dated 1 657 

Born in Haarlem, Van der Heist settled in Amsterdam at twenty-three and is a 
typical Amsterdam artist in his easy sophistication. He was a portrait painter to the 
rich and to leaders of society, whom he satisfied by recording their conspicuously 
fine clothing in a skillful and dashing way, and by giving the portrait an un-Dutch 
mobility, with figures swinging to the side without loss of substantiality, a pattern 
almost Baroque in the sense of Rubens' aristocratic portraits. But the people are not 
flattered or idealized; they would not have expected that in this realistic 
bourgeois world. Indeed Van der Heist's most famous work is of a Burgermaster 
Bicker, with cheeks so fat that he looks foolish, and this boy is so comically a small 
edition of the same that he may be his son. Another high-toned habit of Van der 
Heist's portraits, and another component of their liveliness, are the identifying 
objects that the people hold. An admiral holds his staff, a preacher a book, a lady has 
an immense cello, the Princess of Orange (daughter of Charles I and mother of 
William III of England) has naturally an orange, the artist Paul Potter his easel. This 
chalice, as Baroque in its heavy curves and as shining as the rest of the painting, is 
probably by the great silversmith Jan Lutma, whose portrait Rembrandt etched in 
1656. Since it must be intended to identify the boy, it may have been the christen- 
ing gift. 

It is conventionally said that when Rembrandt painted the Night Watch he lost 
his popularity as a portraitist to more fashionable artists, whom Van der Heist would 
represent. Seymour Slive recently showed that the neglect of Rembrandt was a 
myth of the romantic period, like La Boheme. Rembrandt became poor ten years 
later in a general depression. Van der Heist was indeed still popular, yet he too had 
little money; evidently either the commissions were few (just a hundred paintings 
from thirty-five years of work survive) or the fees were low. Thus as a villain or the 
foil in Rembrandt's career Van der Heist is not very effective. 

Former collection: T. M. Kennion. 



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13. Bonaventura Peeters (1614-1652) 

Sailboats at Hoboken, Flanders 
Canvas, 12^ x 19^4 in. (31.7.x 50.2 cm.) 
Signed with monogram on the pole 

The great art of Flanders in the seventeenth century, supported by great predeces- 
sors in earlier periods, was abruptly halted when, around 1 640, three of its four 
most distinguished artists died (Rubens, Van Dyck, Brouwer) and the fourth 
lapsed into permanent decline (Jordaens). The upstart habits of work in the Dutch 
centers acquired a monopoly of creative energy. The Antwerp artist Peeters illus- 
trates this magnetism in a quite curious way. He was a seascape specialist, painting 
small panels of little variety in composition, interesting to the buyer because of the 
vividly evoked reality of a familiar truth, modest in mood as well as in scale. This is so 
unlike Antwerp artists that even a modern Belgian art historian refers to Peeters as 
humbly holding on to a little appreciated kind of work. Rubens, Van Dyck, and 
Jordaens, like most artists of the world, have their unity in their style of drawing and 
painting, and their subjects are almost universal. Brouwer was a specialist, but he 
worked some of the time in Holland, and Peeters is obviously simply adopting a 
Dutch procedure, almost a Dutch social psychology. Not only is realistic thumb- 
nail specialty painting at this period mainly Dutch, but Peeters, who in Antwerp 
terms gives the impression of having invented the realistic seascape, is actually 
greatly in the debt of Dutch seascape painters, especially Porcellis. On the other 
hand, the boldness of the movements of masses, the force of the right-leaning diago- 
nals with only weak counter-diagonals, the circular areas of light with unfinished 
shifting edges, are more Baroque than any Dutch painter would want to emphasize, 
almost Rubensian; Peeters retains his local background in the area of pure 
painting style. 

Publication: Le Steele de Rubens, Brussels, 1965, No. 163. 



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34 



14. Emanuel DeWitte (1617-1692) 

Interior of a Catholic Church 

Oak panel, ibY&x 12M in. (41 X32.3 cm.) 

Signed lower left on bench 

A specialized Dutch painter did not simply stay with landscape or still life, he stayed 
with sand dunes or apples, and De Witte is the trademarked painter of church in- 
teriors. The recent catalogue of his works shows 198 of them, out of 255 works. 
Many are particular identifiable ones, in the Dutch realistic recording manner, so the 
amount of variation needed to produce this Catholic church, which De Witte never 
saw and produced out of his head, is far more than one would think at first. Doubt- 
less it was assisted by engravings of Italian buildings, especially St. Peter's (the 
roundels in the spandrels just under the dome suggest it) but modified, notably in the 
Gothic apse. There are some seven paintings of this or a very similar late Renaissance 
Catholic church, and one in the Zurich museum is most similar. It is dated 1 685 and 
this is probably still later, a smaller variant. Unlike most repetitive artists, De Witte 
notably grew in vitality more and more into his old age, and this late work typically 
shows a deft lightness and sketchiness of touch which is hardly to be anticipated in 
such a geometric design. It is the happiness of familiar mastery. It is easy to think of 
De Witte as a designer, making slight variations on these light and dark blocks, 
and thus as a prophet of Mondrian. Such a link is meaningful only if we think of 
De Witte as one of a group of specialized artists of his generation, whose works are 
all refined designs, like Mondrian, whether they are buildings or vegetables. Al- 
though this imaginary church suggests the artist as a free inventor of forms, it was 
probably painted on order; he also painted some Gothic Catholic churches, and both 
types are marked by the same two monks. 

Former collections: Viscount Weymouth (sale London 1944) ; A. Welker, London, 195 1; 
Mrs. Angela van Praag (sale London, 1954) ; Sidney van den Berberg, 1956. 
Publication: I, Manke, Emanuel de Witte, Amsterdam, 1963, cat. 150. 



35 



i5- Jan Victors (1620-1676) 

The Expulsion of Hagar 

Canvas, 55^ xyo 7 A in. (141 x 180 cm.) 

Signed and dated 1650 

Victors is a relatively little known pupil of Rembrandt, who was with him in Am- 
sterdam about 1 640. It is always remarked that his early work, closer to his master, is 
his best, and this painting at age thirty is certainly among his most distinguished. 
From Rembrandt he has learned to come up very close to the human being, to make 
it heroically monumental, and to explore its keenest feelings and stresses at times of 
pressure. The necessary interlocking of human grandeur and human weakness is 
Rembrandt's essential legacy, most difficult to imitate because it is very near the edge 
of empty academicism on one side or swollen sentimentality on the other. All the 
pupils, not being Rembrandt, had to become involved in one of these difficulties, and 
Victors settled for an element of the academic. His rejection of softness has a posi- 
tive, tough-minded aspect in the absolute firmness of his line drawing and the 
restrained, exquisitely right harmonies of brown and purple. In this firm way he saves 
his potentially very sentimental subject, the mother and boy driven from home by 
the edict of the chief wife. Victors in fact likes themes involving pathos of family or 
childhood situations, which are Rembrandtesque anyway; he represented the 
Clothing of the Poor, Jacob blessing Joseph, the Massacre of the Innocents, Esther 
before Ahasuerus. In moving beyond Rembrandt to a more academic drawing style, 
Victors again chose the best, taking as his model the greatest achievement of aca- 
demic soundness of drawing, the Bologna school. This work in particular is so like 
Guercino in many details of texture and motifs that it is a puzzle how- they were 
available to him. 

Former collection: Oskar Bondi, Vienna. 

Publication: R. Hamann, "Hagars Abschied bei Rembrandt und im Rembrandtkreis," 

Marburger Jahrbuch, 8-9, 1936, p. 5oifF., fig. 43. 



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38 



i6. Carel Dujardin ( ca . 1622-1678) 

Peasants by a Waterhole 
Canvas, 1 6 Ms x 1 5 in. (41 x 38 cm.) 
Signed and dated 1667 

The pull of Italy on Dujardin is symbolized by the fact that he not only made the 
commonplace young man's trip there, but returned with friends in mature life, 
lingering behind them until he died in Venice. Imagery of longing for Italy is a fact 
of the art of northern Europe in general, of Germany (Goethe's Kennst du das Land 
wo die Zitroenen bluehn) of England (from Milton's Vallombrosa to D. H. Law- 
rence's Etruscan places). In seventeenth century Holland it was strong enough 
in painters and patrons to produce a whole specialist school whose realistic landscape 
and peasant genre was not local, but Roman. Moved by exotic yearnings, it also 
loses some elements of its realism, and perhaps for the first time establishes the figure 
of the picturesque peasant, the standardized figure who survives so familiarly 
in Cavalleria rusticana. Marked by too cheerful costumes and by suggestive ruined 
buildings, this art is perhaps most uniformly evocative through its luminous tone, 
designed to recall the southern sun, and produced through translucency of paint ap- 
plication. In this case Dujardin shows his consciousness of it by focusing his 
composition of masses, thicker as they recede, on the handsome brass vessel on the 
girl's head. Dujardin's personal composition very often involves, as here, a close 
attachment of figures to earth, lying on it or drinking from a stream. He is usually 
cited as developing under the influence of the older Italianate landscapist Berchem, 
but this view contains some limited Netherlandish views. This painting has its closest 
source in Pieter Van Laer, who moved to Italy permanently and was called Bam- 
boccio, and in his pupil Cerquozzi, who saw his own Italy through Dutch eyes and 
often painted such small rectangular notes of conversation before a looming wall. 

Former collection: Charles Butler, London (sale 1876). 



39 



17. Willem Kalf (1622-1693) 

Still Life with Goblets and Lemon 
Canvas, 2jV& x 22% in. (69 x 58 cm. ) 

I f this gorgeous assemblage gives the impression of a particularly fine and classic 
example of Kalf, there is a reason: it was itself responsible, when exhibited at the 
New York World's Fair in 1940, for making him widely known to American museum 
goers, starting a process which now normally tags him as the greatest Dutch still 
life painter. But even apart from that it is a full-throttled statement of Kalf at his 
most brilliant, from the spiral lemon peel, his most familiar trick, to the series of 
glasses ( from the left: a roevier, a fagon-de- Venise goblet, and a flute-glass) . Kalf 
here is a typical Amsterdam painter in the urbane suavity with which he embraces 
these objects; like his contemporary \ an der Heist the portraitist, he makes realism 
serve the Baroque and the rich, by restricting reality to a narrow range. Considered as 
abstract designs, these mature works after 1650 show the same strongly organized 
horizontal-vertical structuring that is visible in the contemporary Amsterdamers 
Van der Neer and De Witte. Here, specifically, transparent cylindrical verticals lift 
up lightly from a sprawling base of opaque oval horizontals; the conch shell is 
intermediate in shape, in surface, and in location. So highly studied an arrangement 
pays its respects to the beauty of the objects which it adjusts. Since Kalf is generally 
supposed to have been influenced in his youth by Rembrandt's lighting effects, one 
might suspect, again abstractly, that this type of composition reflects Rembrandt's 
development in the 1 640*5 of a "subdued Baroque" compositional design, mobile, but 
increasingly centralized, and dominated by repeated vertical cylinders. The Night 
Watch and the Hundred Guilder Print are the classic examples. 

Former collections: Kaiser Wilhelm II, Doom, Holland; Eugene Garbaty, New York. 
Publications: Masterpieces of Art, New York, 1940, no. 104; T. Buechner, Glass Vessels in 
Dutch Paintings of the 17th Century, Corning, N. Y., 1952, p. 25. 



40 




4 l 







V 



i8. Adam Pynacker (1622-1673) 

Mountain Landscape 

Oak panel, 15 Ms x 13 in. (38.5x33 cm.) 

Pynacker is not much known or studied as an individual, aside from the awareness 
of small personal tricks that distinguish him within his group. Chiefly he is regarded 
as a typical member of that large group, the Italianate landscape painters, to which in 
different ways Adriaen Bloemaert and Carel Dujardin also belong. Pynacker is 
close to Jan Both, and in principle recalls Adriaen Bloemaert, in that his most familiar 
works are large decorative wall paintings, allowing the broth-colored open sky, 
with large dusty mountain and tall splindly tree, to grow an expressive scale of open- 
ness, mass, or extension. Those works are also conspicuously sharp-focused, so 
much so that this one with its slightly pastier tone is not at once to be spotted as his. 
It shares this textural variation, however, with a smaller quantity of works in this 
more modest scale, such as those in the Louvre and the Liechtenstein collection. It is 
especially similar to one in the Boymans collection, about three inches higher and 
wider than this, with which it also shares the same cattle and mountain. What is 
more basic to Pynacker's view is the zig-zag design, readable both in two and in three 
dimensions, which determines the portioning and the lighting of his forms. 

Former collections: Hans Wendland, Paris; Hans Fritz Fankhauser, Basel. 



43 



19. Pieter De Hooch (1629-ca. 1684) 

Soldiers Quartered in a Barn 
Oak panel, 26 x 24M in. (66 x 63 cm.) 
Signed on the three-legged stool 

This painting, with its complex forms and final vitality, must be one of the most 
rewarding to the exhibition visitor, as it is the most significant revelation to the 
specialist. The great Pieter De Hooch is well known as second only to Vermeer 
among the Dutch specialty painters concerned with domestic scenes, the family life 
in rooms that has been called "polite genre" in distinction from the rowdy tavern 
genre. His cool, architectonic figures in warm light, the adjustment of the box of 
space to the poised human being, have a meaningf ulness equally in design and in social 
commentary that is more reinforced by their interplay than most observers of either 
are consciously aware. Less known, but a revealing clue to their qualities, is the very 
early work of De Hooch, like this painting. It differs from the usual ones in subject, 
being concerned with soldier life, a less polite interest, and connected to older 
painters like Pieter Codde and Jacob Duck. This first phase is difficult to see satisfac- 
torily; only two signed examples have been known until now, and many of the 
other attributions are problems. This is especially close to one of the two (Berlin, 
Vogel collection) with the same standing woman, while a very different but fine one 
is the unsigned work in the North Carolina Museum, a soldier waking up in a pile 
of straw and kicking out his legs. In general it has been noted that "the quietest ones 
are the best" and this work indeed fascinates by the cool, almost static precision 
with which it presses down on its exuberant actors. Traditionally casual in its pre- 
conditions, it develops evidently through mere force of personality in the artist the 
gleaming exactitude of which he is a master. 



H 




45 




4 6 



2o. Gabriel Metsu (1629-1667) 

The Sacrifice of Isaac 

Canvas, 24 x 18^ in. (61 X47cm.) 

A century ago Metsu was near the head of the list of admired Dutch artists, but 
today is out of favor, and thus one of the best known artists on whom there is no 
book. We may find him sentimental, or more neutrally may think of him as express- 
ing an intermediate feeling between De Hooch and Rembrandt: domestic family 
life or polite genre, along with pathos and the personal exposure of intimate emo- 
tions. In his native town of Leiden the great earlier artist had been Rembrandt, but a 
Rembrandt pupil, Gerard Dou, was now the chief local painter, and did indeed 
dilute Rembrandt into polite genre, old philosophers with nicely brushed robes. 
Metsu has a more substantial mix: a mother with her sick child does not dilute either 
type of theme, but probes both. That subject at once connects with this painting, 
Abraham expecting the death of his son. Hence as with other artists the rare non- 
Dutch theme, taken from the Old Testament, turns out actually to be hardly dif- 
ferent from the usual realistic ones of the artist. Indeed Metsu's few religious 
paintings usually concern family distress: the expulsion of Hagar, Christ and the 
adulterous woman, Christ healing the sickness of Peter's mother-in-law or Jairus' 
daughter, the widow's mite. The list is like Victors, but even more domestic. Here 
the composition too is like many of Metsu's in general layout, showing a standing 
figure dominating a seated one lighter in tone: a drowsy landlady poked at by cus- 
tomers, a sick woman, and closest perhaps an elderly maid combing a girl's hair, 
startlingly distant in theme. These analogies may make clear why this undocumented 
painting has been accepted as Metsu's work so readily. Yet despite the factors of 
assimilation, the religious paintings all seem to be early; of Metsu's dated works, the 
second and third in sequence (both in 1653) have religious themes, and no others. 

Former collection: F. Rochmann, London. 

Publication: Rembrandt's Influence in the ijth Century, Matthiesen Gallery, London, 1953, no. 53. 



47 



2i. JanWynants (ca. 1630-1684) 

Landscape with a Hunter 
Panel, iox 12M in. (25.5x31 cm.) 
Signed center right 

If ever a painter ought by rights to merit the title of a hack, it would at first seem to 
be Wynants. The 726 catalogued works of his career (which certainly include 
duplications) are limited almost exclusively not just to landscape, but, as the cata- 
loguer summarizes, to a "wavy landscape, sandy, with a path and trees, on one side a 
clump of trees and on the other side a panorama." Even more specializing, he never 
painted the figures, these being provided by three collaborators, in this painting 
perhaps Adriaen van de Yelde or Jan Lingclbach. This extreme narrowness prevents 
what would with another painter be the plausible guess that this is catalogue no. 152, 
twice recorded in the 1 8th century as "dune landscape with hunter, his weapon on 
his shoulder and a dog with him, in the foreground, speaking to a seated woman. In 
the middleground two anglers by a small body of water. View to the distance in full 
sunlight; may be identical with 153 and 205." But the measurements differ by two 
centimeters, and the painting was on canvas; no. 153 had a background mountain, 
and in no. 205 the woman was begging. Yet despite all this, the landscape is fresh and 
vivid, atmospherically warm and immediate. It is partly that, as has been noted, his 
small wood panels have more charm than the large canvases. But it is also that the 
pattern being repeated is daring and suggests the opposite of repeated convention by 
its looseness. The dune areas break out like blotches, trees wriggle, and a fence by 
Wynants has its horizontals at a different level in every unit. Spottiness, undulation 
and twining lines make the mood, a very sophisticated way of holding the composi- 
tion together with the lightest threads. In other specialty painters of this late 
generation, a similar approach can be seen in some of the greatest, especially in the 
late work of Ruvsdael and Steen. 



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49 




50 



22. Cornells De Heem (1631-1695) 

Fruit and Oysters 

Canvas, 14^x21/^ in. (36 x54.5 cm.) 

Signed left on the table 

Cornelis De Heem, born in Holland, lived his working life in Flanders. He was the son 
of a more famous still life painter who was born in Flanders but worked in Holland. 
In this case the son did continue the tradition of the father's art as in a workshop, 
(unlike such artists as the younger Bruegel and the younger Bloemaert) and both 
show a mix of Dutch and Flemish qualities in their vocabulary, somewhat as Peeters 
does. As a specialty picture, concentrating hard on the reporting of the real thing 
nearby, such a work seems very Dutch, like a Dutch portrait or tree. But it is rather 
modified toward Flemish flavor in the sense of being Baroque, which in this case 
means that its impact is of an active and vivid mass. Movement of mass is one defini- 
tion of Baroque, and the lineage of Rubens' Antwerp is detectable here, though 
only as a flavor. 

Those qualities must be read across another set of links to other artists and trends 
of expression through time. The three still life oils in the exhibition are by three 
artists of different age groups, Schooten (born ca. 1590), Kalf (born 1622) and 
De Heem (born 163 1 ). Their differences do happen to represent the evolution of 
still life design quite well, a first generation which is very truthful and particular, 
with only a primitive interest in organization; a second classic generation which 
builds on realism a most elegant network of harmonious composition, and a third 
which is marked by design to the point of dryness, as here. In some sense this is a 
story of Dutch painting in general, as we may (with extreme oversimplification) see 
it in the greatest artists of the three generations, Hals, Rembrandt, and Vermeer. 
(This omits most importantly an alternate third stage, to a very loose-knit pattern, as 
in Wynants and the great Ruysdael. ) The analogy to Vermeer will suggest that to 
call De Heem dry is not to condemn him. 



Si 



2]. Nicolas Maes (1632-1693) 

Portrait of a Scholar 
Canvas, 35x28 in. (89x71 cm.) 
Signed and dated 1 666 on a book 

Maes was, among the pupils formed in Rembrandt's studio, perhaps the most suc- 
cessful of all. His early work is monumental genre, scenes of domestic life which 
work out a corner of Rembrandt's legacy by presenting the human figure in life-size 
impact but in a humble capacity, yet otherwise move from it to the more ordinary 
Dutch concern of everyday life. Later Macs turned entirely to portraits, a move 
which will surprise us less when we recall that Rembrandt was among other things a 
leader of portrait painters, supremely polished and vigorous, as fashionable as he was 
realistic. A laes modifies the Rembrandt portrait style of the 1 640's less than he had 
the compositions. His portraits are less complex and difficult in design and lighting 
and characterization, easier to accept, closer to a norm and a type and more centrally 
posed, reductions which must apply to any artist who induces a comparison with 
Rembrandt. But he has made us admire, nowhere more than in this splendid presen- 
tation, qualities which exist in Rembrandt but often pass unnoticed in him: solidity 
of form, related to expressive yielding textures, active balances of small lights 
against large darks, symmetrical power ornamented by irregular accidentals, which 
add up to synthesis of volume and vibration that is truly Rembrandtesque. Later in 
his life Maes' portraits grow very dry in line and texture, and fashionably French 
in ornamentation, but no implication of that shows here beyond the self-confident 
manners of the figure. It may have been painted in Antwerp, where Maes went some 
time between July 1 665 and April 1 667. Of four other portraits dated 1 666, two 
have the same measurements as this (and one is of unknown size). 

Former collections: Hans Wendland, Paris; Hans Fritz Fankhauser, Basel. 
Publication: Valentiner Memorial Exhibition Catalogue, Raleigh, 1959, no. 84. 



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53 







54 



24. Cornells Pieterszoon De Mooy 

(ca. 1634-1693) 

Ships and Sailboats 

Grisaille wash on oak gessoed panel, i^Axig^i'm. (37 x49 cm.) 

Signed on the barrel 

A noticeable school of ship painters could be easily predicted in seventeenth century 
Holland, simply on the basis of two known facts: that painters there regularly 
specialized in one or another object of the material environment, and that the Dutch 
fleet was a great one and a basic source of the national wealth. And yet it did not 
occur, ship painters are scarce and of minor importance. A quick inspection of the 
exceptions may suggest why; thus, the great sea painters like Van Goyen and 
Ruysdael tend to minimize ships, or, the one best known dynasty of ship painters, the 
Van de Velde family, is exceptional on a second count in that it emigrated perma- 
nently to England, a unique step (in contrast with the Italianate landscape painters, 
who stayed in Italy or kept at home in equal quantities), or, that this obscure painter 
Cornelis De Mooy belonged to Rotterdam, the one major town of seventeenth 
century Holland least rich in artists, and of course the one most specialized in ship- 
ping, as it is today. There is certainly a sense that the visual image of the ship is 
downgraded, that its artists unlike other specialists have lower status, like the horse 
painters of eighteenth century England or Currier and Ives artists. Possibly the ship 
as heavy industry is not a sight so agreeable in the Dutch burgher's living room as 
themes of recreation; in genre, the tavern is usual and the shop unusual. It may be 
(though not necessarily) that Mooy's extreme obscurity is part of this pattern: an 
encyclopedia writer of 1906 knew only six works, assembled from older catalogues 
of signed works (and doubted two of them, because he dated his death seventeen 
years too early). Another, in 1930, added just one. Yet the very distinctive style 
should have revealed others, closer to the three hundred known by Van de Velde. 
The exact diagramming of the rigging, a pleasure to hobbyists of all centuries, 
links Mooy with the "tight" style of other artists his age. 



55 



25*. JanVanderHeyden (^y-iyia) 

Houses among Trees 

Oak panel, g'A x loin. (23.5x25.5 cm.) 

Signed with monogram on the signpost 

Van dcr Hcyden is the master of the brick wall, or, as here, the brick-paved road. 
In this detail of reality his effect is his own and unforgettable, so that he is its unique 
master, perhaps now accompanied by Ben Shahn! It is based on straight lines in tiny- 
units, thus at once aligning Van der Heyden among the formalistic, "tight" artists of 
his age group, of all specialties and degrees of fame, from Vermeer to Cornells 
de Heem and Alooy. But it is picked out with dots of light, so that the sense of a dry 
diagram is removed and the sense of vibrating light replaces it, effecting the double 
feeling of satisfaction in solid construction and breathing life. In these late seven- 
teenth century years, when Dutch art seemed to be coming to a dead end, he is one 
of the sensitive talents, even through the pervasive factor of the cut-and-dried. He is 
also the leader of a group of painters of street views in towns, a specialty which 
suddenly became very active in these late years (like ship-painting, with which it 
shares its blueprint look), and in this way becomes one of those whose art did 
stimulate later artists after all. The great eighteenth century masters of the Venetian 
veditta, from Canaletto on, certainly owe much to this little group, with the 
traveller to Italy Van Wittel as the most obvious intermediary. Van der Heyden 
settled his style of street views in the 1660's, after travels to towns in Flanders and 
Germany which he recorded (he and Canaletto both belong to the visual tradition of 
the tourist post card). Later as here he enlarged the landscape elements, but retained 
the points of light. Still later he turned from painting to inventions, which happily 
included a street light and a fire hose. 

Former collection: Major Grant-Thorold, Crawford Hall, Kettering (Northants) England. 



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J* 



z6. Gerrit Berckheyde O638-1698) 

Peasa?it Family at a Ford 

Oak panel, i S 7 A x 26H in. (48 x 68 cm.) 

Signed right center 

The oddness of this painting emerges only if one knows the painter. It is clearly 
identifiable to the eye as a quite usual Italianate landscape, with picturesque peasants, 
pervasive warm light, and the relatively large scale which this theme often uses 
(in contrast to the small examples in this exhibition by Adriaen Bloemaert and 
Dujardin, but somewhat like the Breenbergh). Berckheyde, however, was princi- 
pally a painter of street views, like Van der Heyden, and indeed is the second leader 
of the group that made that art grow significant in this very late phase of Dutch 
painting. He varies them with seaports and church interiors, but the variation seems 
slight. Paintings of this kind do not seem to be on record. However, it is not neces- 
sary to find this a puzzle, since the Italian peasants and their landscape do appear 
normally in the artist's particularly fine drawings. Like the works by Ostade and 
Metsu in the exhibition, this then is a rare exception to the artist's specialty. But 
unlike the others, Berckheyde did not paint a rare kind of theme or image ; he simply 
worked in the normal special imagery of other artists. 

Two facts may be clues to explain this. One is the acceptable report that he always 
painted his own figures. A4any architectural painters naturally did not, so that his 
interest was more than average. The other is that he always lived in Haarlem, a fact 
seemingly important to him only for the specific streets he records. The Haarlem 
feeling for peasant life, in Hals and Ostade, was now almost extinct along with any 
special Haarlem local style, but these peasants may be traceable to it as an 
indirect reflection. 



59 






/